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Experts: Hard-Hit Industries Could Benefit from Immigrants With Work Permits

October 04, 2023 (1 min read)

Sarah Lynch, Inc., Oct. 3, 2023

"City officials are seeking federal help as the migrant influx intensifies--and business leaders are joining the call.  In August, over 120 business executives from JPMorgan Chase, Macy's, Paramount Global, and more signed an open letter to President Biden and Congress urging more federal support and expedited work permits for asylum seekers. ... But migrants who file asylum applications must wait 180 days--roughly six months--before their application can be approved. "All this means that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is being swamped with more work permit applications than ever," says Steve Yale-Loehr, an immigration professor at Cornell Law School. In the meantime, asylum seekers sit and wait, unable to work legally and therefore dependent on social services. ... In Illinois, the hospitality industry has been strapped for years, with approximately 2,000 positions currently open in Chicagoland hotels, says Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association. "For the roles that we think these asylum seekers would be well-suited, there's not much job training that's required," he says. "They can hit the ground running making $23, $24 an hour on day one, plus benefits." "